Construction of two new Perthshire schools has come a step closer as the future of a third hangs in the balance.
A new multi-million pound at North Muirton Perth primary school has been approved by Perth and Kinross Council, while consultation has begun on the catchment area for a proposed Bertha Park primary school and the future of Ruthvenfield Primary School.
The council’s planning and development management committee approved an application to build a replacement for ageing North Muirton and Balhousie primary schools.
The two-storey building will cost £16.5 million and work is expected to commence later this year. It will be built in the grounds of existing North Muirton Primary School at Uist Place.
The larger primary school will incorporate the Balhousie Primary School catchment.
Work is scheduled to be completed by early 2023, when both schools will move into the new build.
The existing schools will remain operational until then.
After demolition of the existing North Muirton school the pitch and green space will be completed.
To make space for the build, North Muirton nursery is being decanted to Balhousie at the start of summer holidays so the stand alone nursery building can be demolished over the break.
What will the new school look like?
In a report submitted to the committee by the head of planning and development, the proposed design and layout of the new school was described in detail.
The report read: “The proposed building will be two-storeys, with single storey elements and is located to the south of the site.
“The nursery and assisted support needs section both with their own dedicated outdoor space, are located to the front of the school.
“The main school will extend north with the classrooms contained within a two-storey section; a hall is located to the rear.”
The report also highlighted the outdoor space in the new school’s design, which will see a performance space and an outdoor classroom included in the finished product.
It added: “Externally there are classroom spill out areas, a large playground, outdoor classroom and performance space.
“There is also a playing field, hard surface pitch and activity trail.
“The proposed finish materials are buff brickwork, standing seam metal roof and wall panels and aluminium windows and doors.”
What about travel congestion?
At the committee meeting, questions were raised over the potential for travel congestion given the number of pupils who may attend the school.
The capacity for the existing North Muirton and Balhousie is 290 and 224 respectively.
Under questioning from councillor Tom Gray, education and children’s services representative, Brian Reid assured the committee plenty of walking routes will be available in the area.
He said: “There are various routes but it will depend [if they can walk to school] as the children will be coming from different houses across the area.
“What I will say is that there are a lot of safe paths and routes to the school. It’s something that was looked at as part of the consultation process.”
The school will have accommodation space for 96 bikes and 30 scooters and existing pedestrian gates on the north and east perimeter of the school will be retained allowing pedestrian access for the pupils who live to the north of the site.
It’s going to do exceptionally well.”
Councillor Roz McCall
Confirming the approval of the application, Councillor Roz McCall hailed the project as “excellent education facility” which would serve the local community well.
She said: “It’s a fantastic design and I think it’s going to do exceptionally well.
“It’s a massive step forward and yes, there will be a little bit of disruption but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
“We will have a fantastic school at the end of this.”
Bertha Park and Ruthvenfield schools
Consultation began this week on another new primary school in Perthshire and the future of an existing village primary school.
The council’s lifelong learning committee previously approved a new primary school to be located at Bertha Park, adjacent to Bertha Park High School.
Now, parents and families are being asked to provide their views on the catchment area which needs to be created.
Controversially, the catchment review will also consider the future of Ruthvenfield Primary School – which could be closed as a result.
The school, which has around 60 pupils, is deemed to be in poor condition.
The SNP group on Perth and Kinross Council said it would oppose any proposed closure of Ruthenfield Primary School.
Education spokesman Councillor John Rebbeck said: “Whilst welcoming a new primary school at Bertha Park we believe that it can happily co-exist with all of the currently existing primary schools in the area.”
Families are invited to complete a questionnaire on the consultation website until May 16.